App State women’s soccer relies on senior leaders Ava Dawson and Kristin Brown

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App State women’s soccer relies on senior leaders Ava Dawson and Kristin Brown

Freshman forward Liney Brantley passes the ball across midfield during App State's  2-1 win over FIU on Sept. 13.

Freshman forward Liney Brantley passes the ball across midfield during App State's 2-1 win over FIU on Sept. 13.

Lynette Files

Freshman forward Liney Brantley passes the ball across midfield during App State's 2-1 win over FIU on Sept. 13.

Lynette Files

Lynette Files

Freshman forward Liney Brantley passes the ball across midfield during App State's 2-1 win over FIU on Sept. 13.

Zack Antrum

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The App State women’s soccer team knows nothing comes easy in the Sun Belt. The sea of talented players, combined with the intense travel that comes with teams from around the country, makes it one of the toughest women’s soccer conferences in the country.

The Mountaineers prepare for this by scheduling a challenging group of non-conference opponents each year. 

Despite sitting at 2-4-1, they have gained valuable experience that their record does not necessarily reflect. The Mountaineers have managed to pick up wins against UNC Asheville and Florida International, as they continue to search for their identity as a team.

During this search, senior midfielders Ava Dawson and Kristin Brown have emerged as team leaders.

Dawson has scored four goals for the Mountaineers this season, including a two goal outing in a 2-3 loss to Charlotte. She also registered an assist in the 2-1 win against FIU. 

She is not a stranger to big minutes, as she finished last season ranked fourth on the team in minutes played with 1,510 and was tied for third in goals and assists with two of each. 

Even though she feels like there’s still work to be done, Dawson said she and her teammates have started to find their groove after a slow start to the season.  

“I think we can do an even better job at finishing, especially in the run of play but so far, we’ve found what’s working for us, so we’ll probably just keep trying to do that,” Dawson said.

Brown has positioned herself as a key playmaker for App State, as well. She’s registered four assists on the season, including both of Dawson’s goals against Charlotte. 

Brown gained a reputation for setting her teammates up to score, finishing last season ranked second on the team with three assists. She is also used to playing key minutes, so far starting every game this year for the Mountaineers. She started 15 of 19 games last year.

While she is enjoying her personal success, Brown said she knows the team still has goals to accomplish and one of her main priorities is achieving them.

“To come out on fire for conference with that tough conference schedule (is important),” Brown said. “Just having that secure spot in the conference tournament early in the conference season will just give us a little bit more confidence going into the postseason, as well.”

The Mountaineers start conference play when they host Troy on Sept. 20 and play the last game of their non-conference schedule when they host Wofford on Sept. 22.